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Monday, July 24, 2017

WMU Librarian Nominated for Prestigious Award



Western Michigan University professor Maira Bundza was recently recognized for her work on behalf of Latvian and Baltic libraries and archives and for inspiring young people and students about Latvia, its culture and history among Latvians, Americans and Europeans. The Laiks Ziedonim Award is a prestigious award in honor of Imants Ziedonis, a highly celebrated Latvian author known for his poetry and his love for Latvia. Imants Ziedonis fund “Viegli” was established to support creativity, to inspire and encourage Latvians worldwide, and to develop important cultural and intellectual values and skills to enhance Latvian identity and character. The fund developed the Laiks Ziedonim Award, which can be translated as Time for Imants Ziedonis, as it is celebrated on his birthday – May 3 or as Time for the spring awakening - time when things start to flower.


Maira is the ScholarWorks Librarian and Associate Professor of University Libraries here at WMU. She has a M.L.S. is Library Science from Western Michigan University and a B.A. in Psychology from Cornell University. She moved to Kalamazoo in 1982 to work at the Latvian Studies Center, and in fifteen years she created the largest Latvian library in the continent at that time. Maira has produced important publications and presentations on Latvia and the Baltic States that have been published or presented throughout America, Canada and Europe. Maira has held leading positions in the Kalamazoo Latvian Association, Latvians in the World (LaPa) Museum and Research Center, Latvian Family Camps in Catskills and Garezers, as well as when she was young in various American Latvian youth organizations and camps. She has been on the International Education Council for nine years as secretary, chair and vice-chair. 


Out of approximately 250 candidates for the award, Maira and 22 others were recognized on Latvian national television as top nominees in five categories.  The nomination "Kedas" rewards people or organizations who are passionately and creatively engaged in promoting, studying and developing Latvian culture traditions outside of Latvia. The award ceremony was held in Rēzekne, a city in the eastern region of Latvia. Maira enjoyed meeting the fellow nominees and other famous icons in Latvia such as the lead singer of a popular Latvian rock band called Prāta Vētra/Brainstorm. We are very proud to have Maira representing Western Michigan University Libraries not only in the United States, but across the globe.